Thursday, February 21, 2008

Food Court Bread Sticks


I have a love-hate relationship with leftovers. During a chaotic week, it’s nice to have a night when I don’t have to plan a meal and spend time cooking. It also nice to have a clean-the-fridge night, when dinner is served buffet style, and everyone gets to revisit his/her favorite meal from earlier in the week. Finally, some foods – like soups and stews – improve 2-3 days after they’re initially prepared.

However, I also hate leftover nights because I don’t get the opportunity to cook or try a new recipe. Cooking is often an outlet that allows me to distance myself from the stress of the day. Leftovers can also be monotonous and lead to a major case of the blahs. I still cringe when I think about my bachelor days; five straight days of eating chili coupled with dreary, bone-chilling February weather drove me to the verge of madness.

To avoid the leftover blues, I usually try to incorporate a new recipe into our leftover meals. For example, leftover burritos might be complemented by a fresh batch of pico de gallo, guacamole, or cilantro lime rice. A new twist makes the meal feel fresh.

Early this week we had chicken Parmesan, pasta, and steamed asparagus. With plenty of tomato sauce and pasta leftover, I knew later in the week parts of this meal would be revisited. To accompany the pasta and feed my desire to be in the kitchen, I decided to make a Food Court Bread Sticks, a recipe adapted from Marcy Goldman’s book The Best of Betterbaking.com. I prefer multigrain, crusty artisan breads or a focaccia with my pasta, but this recipe provides a nice soft and savory sponge to sop up any leftover sauce. This recipe is a hit with kids, and it’s a snap to prepare, making it the perfect complement for a weeknight meal.



Food Court Bread Sticks



Dough
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 to 2 cups bread flours
Garnish
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or olive oil

  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • Parmesan cheese

Directions: (Note: The picture I posted is only half of the above recipe. I froze the rest of the dough for a later date. This is the third time I've made this recipe, and this batch of sticks wasn't as thick as my previous attempts. Typically, they'll be thicker. When I make this recipe again, I'll post new pictures.)
  1. Lightly coat a 7 by 11-inch brownie pan or similar pan with olive oil and set aside.

  2. Mix yeast and water. Let stand for five minutes to dissolve the yeast. Stir in the sugar, salt, oil, cornmeal, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, all-purpose flour, and 1 cup of the brad flours. Mix to a soft mass. Knead with the dough hook on the lowest speed of the mixer for 8 minutes, gradually adding more bread flour as required to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form the dough into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.

  3. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan and gently pat out to fill the pan. It should be about ½ inch thick. Lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Then let the dough rise for 15 minutes.

  4. Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush with oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

  5. Using tongs, lift the dough onto a cutting board and using a pizza wheel cut into ½-inch wide strips.



  6. Serve and enjoy.







1 comment:

Apoorva Sai said...

Bread stick is a different food court recipe. Very healthy recipe.